Accompanied by an armed police escort, his managers and workers, Bennett drove back onto his farm in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands Chimanimani district last week.
|HEARTACHE and happiness marked Roy Bennett’s homecoming.
His home had been trashed by so-called war veterans and Zanu-PF youths. Almost everything worth stealing had been stolen, though much has been recovered by the police. He has, he reckons, lost millions since the violent invasion began on 10 May.
But worst of all, a little wooden casket containing his father’s ashes had been smashed open, its contents gone. Bennett held the casket aloft: “Is this right?” he asked “war veterans” inspecting the house with him. They shook their heads.
And workers told horror stories of the beatings that had taken place. Made to sit in a puddle of water and chant party slogans, one of Bennett’s workers, described by his colleagues as “simple” had shouted “Pamberi na Pachedu”, using Bennett’s nickname. The slip of the tongue cost the worker dearly as he was kicked repeatedly in the legs, stomach and head.
Several others were also beaten while the invaders threatened to cut their throats if they continued to support the opposition MDC. “The police and the CIO were there, just listening while this happened,” alleged a worker who escaped the following day.
Zimbabwe’s CIO, the Central Intelligence Organisation, has been linked to the shadowy third force behind the brutal murders of farmers in Zimbabwe.
Bennett’s first task was a meeting between himself, the police and the invaders. Two representatives of the “war vets” association attended the meeting where Bennett told them that he was still with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). He said he respected their right to support Zanu-PF, but that he expected them to support his right to stand for the MDC. Bennett is the MDC’s candidate for Chimanimani in Zimbabwe’s forthcoming parliamentary elections.
Constantly watched over by a phalanx of MDC supporters, Bennett is obviously immensely popular in the district. People wave and chant party slogans wherever he goes. They like him and, he says, they asked him to stand.
Which probably explains why Bennett and his family were targetted in a district that has otherwise been relatively quiet. It also explains why his workers have suffered at the hands of self-styled veterans of Zimbabwe’s liberation war. Speaking from a safe house near Harare just before Bennett returned, workers told The Farmer how they had been intimidated. A tractor driver explained how he’d been sent by Bennett to Chiramba in a nearby communal area to repair roads.
Along with the tractor, Bennett also sent a JCB and another driver. Before the job was completed, so-called war veterans seized the equipment and hand-cuffed one of the drivers. Bennett’s workers were told that the tractor and JCB now belonged to them, “not to Pachedu.” The “war veterans” claimed that they were sent by Mr Munacho Mutezo, Zanu-PF’s candidate for Chimanimani and Bennett’s rival in the 24 June election.
The hand-cuffed driver was allegedly rescued by another “war veteran” called Perkins, who pointed out that driving a JCB with hand-cuffs was not possible.
Bennett’s workers (names provided) allege that Mr Mutezo arrived with 200 litres of diesel after the war veterans had told them to work in another area. The drivers allege that Mutezo also claimed “these machines belong to me, not Pachedu.”
But before they began working on their “new assignment”, Bennett arrived and, in a dramatic confrontation with the “war veterans”, retook his machinery. The tractor and JCB were taken to a nearby police station for safe keeping where Bennett laid charges of theft. The Farmer understands that the police are investigating Mr Mutezo’s role in the alleged theft. Mr Mutezo was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press, but police confirmed that Mutezo was campaigning in the district.
When asked why one of his vehicles, marked “Authentic Engineering” was parked at the police camp, The Farmer was told that there were “perhaps three” vehicles from the same company being used for the Zanu-PF’s campaign.
But now that Bennett has returned, he has asked the invaders to leave or, if they cannot, to move further away from his home. “They’ve said they’ll consult with their boss, Musindo,” Bennett said, adding that the war vets seemed genuinely shocked by the state of his home – and by the desecration of his father’s ashes. “The CID are doing a good job and they’ve locked up all the real trouble causers,” Bennett said. “They’re totally apolitical.”
Asked about the MDC supporters who are on the farm, Bennett stressed that they were there for security only. “I do not want to start a war here,” he said.
And asked whether he thought that his confrontation with Zanu-PF didn’t make him a target for acquisition, Bennett, who farms about 210ha of coffee under a hi-tech irrigation scheme, said he was looking beyond acquisition. “I think that this government has seen its day and a sustainable land policy will soon come into being,” he said.
“I’m back on my farm,” said Bennett, “I have my pride and I can show my children that I got back on through the law. I’ve proved that there is law in Zimbabwe. Farmers can’t live in an untouchable cocoon, we have to show that we are Zimbabweans and that we’re not here for ourselves.”
And his father’s ashes? They were to be spread in a river at the bottom of the farm. Now they won’t be, but Bennett’s back anyway.
Editor- The Farmer
P O Box WGT 160
Westgate - Harare
Tel: + 263 4 309800
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Incorporating Countryside News
COMMERCIAL FARMERS' UNION
FARM INVASIONS UPDATE
FRIDAY 16 JUNE 2000
The region has been reasonably quiet over the last few days and as at midday all other areas had nothing to report.
Tsatsi - About 60 war vets held an all night pungwe at Zanadu Farm last night. Thomas Majuru went to Glen Devon yesterday and will be returning, as the owner was away.
Shurugwe - There were three new occupations; Circle V and Impali had peaceful occupations, but on Sherwood 2 head of cattle were slaughtered. ZRP are reacting.
MASHONALAND WEST NORTH
Raffingora - A war vet appeared on a farmers doorstep demanding money so that he could start farming in the Raffingora area.
Umboe - Tree cutting, honey poaching and snaring has been reported on Mpata Farm. The farmer on Ringari Farm was told to reinstate a builder that had been fired.
Chinhoyi - 12 war vets requested that 3 ha per worker be pegged on Kenilworth Estate. 10 war vets visited Hillrise Farm, saying they would return on Saturday.
Karoi - The driver on Rondawyn was badly assaulted by Zanu PF youths after being accused of being the MDC area representative. The assault has been reported to the ZRP. 5 of the cattle from Yowanda are on Toroananga eating maize belonging to communal farmers - possible reprisals are expected. War vets on Ruwanzi have cancelled all hunting and are demanding meat. One wildebeest has been shot by the owner. The hunter is in the country and if the hunt is cancelled +/-US$10 000 will be lost. War vets have chased staff and builders off Sipofeneni and cattle have been driven onto the farm. The farm was recently purchased for game hunting and a Certificate of no Present Interest issued. ZRP are investigating a speared bull on Baobab.
MASHONALAND WEST SOUTH
Norton - Three different factions have been visiting Clifford Farm. One is led by Don Carlos and is fairly aggressive, andother by Paradzai Vegena, who is demanding that the farm is signed over, and the third by Mrs Rusike, who demanded $5000 from the farmer.
Suri Suri - War vets are selling plots for $35 each on Mkute Farm
Chegutu - War vets have taken the pegs out on Balclutha Farm as they don't think the farm is suitable
Selous - War vets from New Mayfair have moved to Southwood Farm.
Other - Politicians have organised fuel in Chegutu as a result of the Zanu PF rally which the President is attending in Kadoma. A delegation of farmers is supposed to be meeting the President at Kadoma Ranch Motel.
Marondera - War vet Majuru was back on Monora today and has moved in with a woman from the farm village, together with another woman. There are shacks going up on the farm boundary. Intimidation of youths continues.
Bromley/Ruwa - The owner of Dunstan leases out grazing to a gentleman who yesterday asked the farmer on Winsor Park to slaughter a bull. The war vets on Dunstan heard the gun shot and asked the owner of Winsor Park why he had not forewarned them about this, and confiscated his weapon. The Taskforce is liaising with the Hatfield Police to try and intervene.
Macheke/Virginia - Roadblocks still have not been removed from Glen Somerset.
Harare South/Beatrice - The area along the Marirangwe Road is now quiet after the hassles yesterday.
Wedza - On Chakadenga another 10 houses were built on Wednesday night and fences cut. There is an upsurge in poaching on Poltimore, and seedbed fumigation on Shaka has been stopped since Monday by occupiers.
A report was received yesterday that war vets have settled on an unoccupied residential property, which is in the process of being built, in Burnside, Bulawayo. The region was quiet today.
Mr Menage and the Provincial War Veterans leader, Mr Tsoriyo, are travelling around Manicaland addressing War Veterans before the elections to ensure peace. Today they are addressing Chipinge and Chimanimani.
Headlands - There is a Youth Rally and most of the labour and farmers are attending. The normal demands for food etc. are being made.
Odzi - A tense situation arose between a farmer and one of his workers, who is a war veteran. The police are attempting to defuse the situation.
Nyazura - The war veteran leader in this area and two of the security committee members have been travelling around to defuse situations on farms: one farmer was forced to sign over half his farm and there was a work stoppage. The security team visited and Mr Mbada told the war veterans that the letter was worthless, and they were not doing what they were supposed to do. Work is now continuing.
On another property the number had increased to about 230 people and about 700 more were expected. Mr Mbada told them only 12 were allowed on the farm. The team also resolved a work stoppage on Claire Farm.
Chipinge - There was a new occupation on Littie Ville Farm, but no presence has been left. On Kaliedo Lodge, trees in front of the lodges are being cut.
Burma Valley - A number of rallies are being held on Sunday and everyone is apprehensive.
Farmers and your families, please be on your guard. We received a report of a salesman, presumed to be a farmer, being intimidated by 4 men wearing Zanu PF badges at Farmers' Co-op this morning.
- - -
STRESS MANAGEMENT SEMINAR
21st JUNE 2000
FOR C.F.U. MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES
How to cope with personal stress, family stress and the immense problems of employees.
NON-POLITICAL AND HUMANITARIAN
Top medics, psychologists, counsellors
Phone Jan Wentworth or Nicky Petersen on 309800 for further details
and book as soon as possible – limited places left.
E Mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Registration and Tea 8.30am
Commencement of Seminar 9.00am
A light snack lunch will be served.
A Property Owner's Nightmare
& Guardian (Johannesburg)
June 15, 2000
By Ian Fife
Johannesburg - Hitler Hunzvi is
going to eat your lunch. He is at your dining table, his hand up your daughter's
skirt. His men defile the most personal possessions in your home, which they say
is theirs, then slaughter your spouse and children. That is nightmare number one
right now in the white suburbs of Southern Africa, relegating to number two and
three ruin from massive property taxes or interest rate hikes.
This time, of
course, the Zimbabwe land invasions pierce an eternal archetype: the home as the
castle and safe as a house. Fear ripples out from Harare to Johannesburg, Durban
and Cape Town.
So it's a shock to discover that there is still a property
market in Harare, or that agents say any slight softening of the Johannesburg
market is due to interest rate uncertainty rather than Zimbabwe. Owners put
their homes on the market. Buyers snap them up, expecting life to return to
normal and prove the properties a bargain. Agents report record turnovers.
Despair and hope inhabit the same space.
Perhaps Denny Kandiyero's
description of the Harare property market as "steady" is a touch too sanguine.
He has a three-bedroom middle-range house at Z$900 000 (R150 000), the same as
it was a year ago. But the Zimbabwean dollar has lost a third of its buying
power, therefore real prices have plummeted.
A house in the lower-range
Masasa Park was Z$250 000 two years ago, now it is Z$500 000. "Steady" also
means there are hardly any buyers or sellers around right now. But then
Kandiyero's website (www.zimbabwe.net/ business/property/krea/) announces his
"optimistic approach, sincere commitment and dedication that has made Kandiyero
Real Estate grow from strength to strength".
Old Mutual Properties general
manager Luke Ngwerume backs Kandiyero and describes the office and retail
markets as stable. "Some voids [empty space] but nothing to be concerned about."
Landlords have been increasing rents each year by the inflation rate, now 50%,
and tenants whose export income has stayed the same because of the controlled
exchange rate are struggling. "They are using space less extravagantly,"
The market is responding to economics rather than politics.
Pam Golding Properties (PGP) Harare CEO, Tracey Quincy, is proud that
turnover for the six months to end February was Z$176-million or a little under
R30-million. That's 50 average four-bedroom Harare northern suburbs executive
houses at Z$3,5-million (R600 000), or eight houses a month. Any self-respecting
Durban or Cape Town agent might sniff at such turnover, but they don't work the
rough business landscape Quincy and Kandiyero do.
people to move out of money into hard assets and, at the beginning at least, to
bank in land and get some store of value. Zimbabwean house sales averaged 1 000
a month last year, says local economist John Robertson, up from 800 the year
before and 700 before that. Current figures are not yet available.
interest rates are government controlled at a fixed rate, capped at between 18%
and 28%, and that would be a great incentive to borrow as much as possible on a
house. But mortgages are limited to a pool of long-standing bonds that pass from
seller to buyer at fixed rates as low as 14%. Banks cannot raise new money at
low enough rates to increase that pool.
Overdraft rates at 70% a year means
that even with the standard 25% deposit the average executive would have to pay
Z$150 000 (R26 000) a month. But that is impossible for the average executive.
High inflation also stops sellers leaving their money in as loans to purchasers
because they must either put it into a new home or place it where it will keep
its real value. So they sell for cash or keep the house.
place for surplus funds is the money market, where high interest rates help
retain value," says Robertson.
Quincy says recent sales have been almost
exclusively to executives who are financed at low interest rates by their
companies. Although she cannot confirm it, market talk is that sales to
expatriate executives often gives the seller the opportunity to get some of the
selling price paid offshore. It's also a neat way for black money to come into
the country at excellent rates.
"People are becoming more security conscious
so clusters and gated developments are the most in demand," Quincy points out.
But little development takes place unless buyers order off-plan and accept a
price that ratchets up with time and inflation. Builders who signed fixed-price
contracts have gone bust. Robertson says architects and quantity surveyors have
little to do.
What sets Zimbabwe apart from the South African property
market is the stifling and time-consuming regulation of all transactions. You
can't transfer properties above a certain size without a Government Certificate
of No Present Interest. The Compulsory Purchase Act applies to houses as well as
farms. Rents and tenure are regulated. And, say observers, there is a less than
subtle desire by magistrates, courts and authorities to follow political policy
rather than the letter of the law.
Quincy tells of a recent property PGP
sold in one of Harare's better suburbs. The tenants refused to leave. The local
magistrate would not evict them. Quincy advised the purchaser to move into the
house anyway with the tenant in it.
"The tenants were a white family from
South Africa," says Quincy. "The buyer was a black Zimbabwean. We asked the
tenants to make room for the owner. They moved out within 24 hours."
Kandyero, Quincy and Ngwerume believe things will ease after the election
late this month. Robertson forecasts a drop in the inflation rate to 40% next
But property ownership is now an issue in Southern Africa that will
not go away. The disadvantaged will continue to want redress and the opportunity
to develop the wealth that property brings. And some South African property
owners will continue to have nightmares.
Copyright (c) 2000 Mail and Guardian.
Put the blame where it belongs
IT doesn't matter what Messrs Mbeki and McKinnon say, Zimbabwe's
elections are unlikely to be free and fair. Their beliefs make them a
minority of two.
No doubt they have their reasons for being optimistic, but there's
also no doubt those reasons, whatever they are, are not in the best
interests of Zimbabwe. They may be in the best interests of South Africa
(though it's hard to see how) or they may be in the best interests of a
peaceful tenure at the head of an otherwise inept talking shop, but that's
as far as it goes.
Recent developments in Zimbabwe emphasise the dilemma voters will face
on 24 June. The population is cowed and pliable. Suddenly, Zanu-PF is
attempting to portray itself as the farmers' friend - but only because
pictures of white fists clenched in black power salutes make the ruling
party confident. Commercial farmers are "invited" to Zanu-PF rallies, on the
understanding that they sit with the party hierarchy, take a little abuse,
bring their entire labour forces with them and, most bizarrely, wear
No one has been able to explain why farmers were told to wear trousers
to a rally held in Mashonaland West, but if it was to make them look
prosperous and trendy next to an impoverished workforce, it failed dismally.
The make over artist who can do that to a Zimbabwean farmer has yet to be
But there's been a lull over much of the country. Violence has
diminished, but it has certainly not disappeared. New invasions are still
taking place, assaults on farmers and their workers continue and the threat,
the constant threat, of renewed intimidation hangs over the entire country.
There was a time when Zimbabweans believed that they could breathe
more easily after the elections. Apparently not. Word comes from the ruling
party that the ballot isn't quite as secret as it's supposed to be.
Voters are told that Zanu-PF will know who voted for whom - and that
it's not healthy to vote for anyone other than the ruling party. This is
sinister, but it is also a lie.
Then the threat is broadened. The more intelligent Zanu types, knowing
that a secret ballot is a cornerstone of democracy, threaten entire areas.
We may not know whom you voted for individually, they threaten, but if your
constituency returns a significant number of MDC votes, watch out for the
wrath of the party that came to power through blood. Potential voters are
led to believe that it is not just President Mugabe who has a degree in
violence, but his entire party.
As if Zimbabwe needed reminding.
There is so very little time to counter this intimidation.
Right now the priority for all thinking Zimbabweans should be an
unambiguous drive to educate anyone and everyone about the secrecy of the
But now that the threats have been made, the election cannot be free
and fair unless Zanu-PF undertakes a massive drive to retract its evil
threat. This is not overstating the fact. Implicit in the threat is a return
to violence, even to war. And if Zanu-PF looses the election, voters are led
to believe that violence will be their reward. This is unmitigated evil, but
if it is not retracted then the ruling party places itself beyond
redemption - and Zimbabwe discards all pretences to democracy.
The effect of this on Zimbabwe's farming community is immense. Over
two million people live on commercial farms. Many of them are voters and, by
now, almost all of them are intimidated voters. Zanu-PF's weapon is fear and
fear can only be countered with reason. But there's a problem: no one is
brave enough to use reason and even if such people could be found, entering
a farming district and preaching a gospel of political reason would incur a
fresh outbreak of violence on the electorate.
As ever, the country is looking to farmers for leadership.
The international community is sitting on the sidelines, sipping
cappuccinos in Harare and earnestly discussing the situation. Which is fine,
but Zimbabwe needs a little more help than earnest discussion. Local NGOs
aren't doing much more. Perhaps they're too poor to travel the country and
educate the electorate but it's more likely that they're just too scared.
The MDC now talks of farmers, farming organisations and the ruling party in
the same breath, making them a common adversary. But they aren't on the
farms either - and show no signs of moving beyond their urban strongholds.
In other words, everybody is relying on farmers to ensure free and fair
elections in the commercial farming sector. No one is prepared to lift a
finger to help them.
Not that this has stopped these sectors criticising farmers for their
perceived support for the ruling party, nor for a perceived capitulation to
Restoring democracy to Zimbabwe's farming districts in the few weeks
remaining before the elections would be unbelievably difficult, but that's
no reason for not trying. Farmers cannot do it, and they certainly can't do
it alone because any attempt to do so will result in yet more deaths. The
reality is simple, if this election succumbs to tyranny, the blame for that
lies not just with the ruling party, but also with those who criticised from
the sidelines; those who refused to get involved and instead said, no, this
is the responsibility of 4 500 isolated individuals; let them sort it out.
Farmers have no problem with a nation, even the region, relying on them to
keep the economy alive, relying on them to feed the country. But they do
have a problem with Zimbabwe relying on them to keep the banner of democracy
flying - for farmers are farmers, not politicians, not human rights
activists and certainly not civil rights leaders.
Telling farmers how to vote
ZIMBABWE'S ruling party, Zanu-PF, continues to threaten would-be
voters throughout the country. The threat is a simple one: if Zanu-PF does
not win the June 24 election, violence will reign in the country's rural
Speaking to about 3000 farmers and farm workers in Raffingora
recently, the country's deputy home affairs minister, Ms Mabel Chinomona,
warned the rally against voting for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC). She told the gathering that Zanu-PF would know which areas had
given the MDC support and issued a veiled threat of post-election violence.
Farmers in the area were also told to attend the rally, held by
education minister Dr Ignatius Chombo and Ms Chinamona. They were instructed
to bring their workers.
The rally was held to drum up support for the ruling party and the
"war veterans" and, at the same time, to denounce the MDC. "War vets"
suggested that they wanted to "share" the land with farmers, but not chase
farmers away. Only by sharing the land, they said, could veterans learn how
to farm. Reports from elsewhere in Zimbabwe show that this is becoming a
But sources within the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) say the demand
is untenable - and even illegal.
Government, farmers clash over maize estimate figures
FARMERS' orgarnisations clashed with the Lands and Agriculture
ministry over the maize crop estimate expected to be harvested this season
at a meeting held last week where farmers' organizations maintained that
farmers had less maize while the ministry said there was more, The Farmer
The farmers' organizations, also irked by the delays by the ministry
to announce the maize producer price for the next season's crop, are said to
have taken the opportunity to ask why the ministry delayed the announcement
as this would affect their planning for the 2000/2001 farming season, but
did not get a satisfactory response.
Industry sources said that the ministry was maintaining that there is
more maize in the country than what the farmers' organizations estimated
from this season's harvest but farmers representatives were disputing this
basing on the records from the farmers they represent.
The sources said the ministry estimated this year's maize crop to be
about 2,4 million tonnes while the farmers' orgainsations gave an estimated
figure of 1,6 to 1,7 million tonnes.
It is understood that the farmers' organizations had initially
forecasted a little more. They however revised their figures downwards
following the effects of the devastating Cyclone Eline and the rains that
continued to fall well into the winter season there by affecting the final
yields. According to the CFU, commercial farmers were loosing some of their
maize to the rampant theft which this year have been made worse by land
invasions as farmers are unable to increase security on their fields.
Last year alone commercial farmers lost about $60m worth of maize to
This year the CFU estimates a 5% loss to theft, which relates to
The Indigenous Commercial Farmers' Union (ICFU) director Nokwazi Moyo
said his union members were to produce only 40 000 tonnes.
ZFU said they don't have any figures at the moment but they were
revising the initial estimates downwards because there was considerable
rotting due to the rains that fell after the end of the normal rain season
and the cyclone eline.
However, the SADC food security crop update projected that Zimbabwe
was going to produce 2,15 million tonnes compared to 1,52 million tonnes it
produced last season.
The government has delayed the announcement of the maize producer
price traditionally done around April every year. It appears that no one
really knows when the announcement would be made. Some have said it could be
anytime while other have said it would be after elections. It is understood
that the mater was discussed in a recent meeting in the politburo, the Zanu
PF supreme decision making body but no details of the discussions were made
Diamonds may not be forever
CASH-STRAPPED Zanu-PF has turned to the London stock exchange to fund
its military activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to the New York-based Wall Street Journal, Zidco Holdings, a
Zanu-owned company, will soon receive 237000 shares in Oryx Diamonds, a
company that will soon list on London's Alternative Investment Market.
The deal is part of a plan by Oman-based Oryx, South African-run Petra
Diamonds and Osleg, a company belonging to the Zimbabwean army, to exploit a
Congolese concession containing US$1 billion worth of gems.
The concession is part of the pay-off Zimbabwe has received for its
military support to DRC president, Laurent Kabila.
According to the journal, Omani businessman, Thamer bin Saeed
al-Shanfari, met Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and arranged to use Oryx
's financial resources to help Zimbabwe exploit Congo's diamond resources.
Before listing Oryx plans to take over Petra, an experienced diamond
miner, to help it exploit the resource. The company's profits will be shared
Comiex, a company believed to represent Kabila's personal interests,
will also garner a share of the profits.
Should the venture prove successful Zanu-PF will have tapped one of
the world's richest diamond reserves. Although the DRC produces only US$50
million of diamonds a year, in peace times the country was the world's fifth
biggest gem supplier.
Still, the listing could be marred by the opposition of powerful
interest groups, Fatal Transaction and Global Witness, who are successfully
campaigning against the use of gems to finance African conflicts.
Zanu PF supporters attack, injure farm workers
SUPPORTERS of Zanu-PF parliamentary candidate for Mazowe East
constituency, Chen Chimutengwende, attacked and injured a number of farm
workers at Plymouth farm for allegedly being late for a rally.
Eight of them were taken to Concession hospital for treatment.
According to the farmer, Michael Harris, trouble started when there
was a roll call before the beginning of the rally and it was discovered very
few of his workers were present. A group of people from a nearby farm was
then sent to Playmouth.
"The youths just came and started beating up people and asking them
why they were not going to the rally. People had not even refused to go to
the rally anyway. Even old people who can't run were ordered to jump and run
to the rally," said an eyewitness who was also a victim of violence by Zanu
Plymouth Farm field supervisor, Luke Marunga, said, "My wife was
beaten up. They were actually looking for me. We were being accused of not
coming to the rally on time."
Zviteyi Kambukuka who was also assaulted said, "I had my baby with me
and when they saw me they just started beating me while asking me what I was
still doing when others were already gathered at the rally venue. I tried to
explain to them that I was trying to find someone to look after my baby
before going to the rally.
"We got to the rally before Chimutengwende came. We actually waited
for an hour before he arrived so we were puzzled why they were saying we
were late," Kambukuka said.
"My little son was beaten up and I was also beaten. There were more
than 60 men and women who were doing this to us. They are from the nearby
Davaya Farm and we know them," said another victim.
"How will we vote for Zanu Pf when they are beating us," shouted one
female farm worker.
An old man who claimed to be the commander of the youths in the area
was in the compound when The Farmer visited. He said he was getting the
names of those who were assaulted so the he could present them to the local
Asked whether the culprits were to be reported to the police since the
they were known he said, "We won't take them to the police. We will
discipline each other within ourselves and try to reach an understanding
that it should not happen again."
He said the Zanu PF supporters who attacked Plymouth had been sent
from the rally to invite the Plymouth workers to the rally and not to beat
The Farmer caught up with the eight people taken for treatment at
Concession hospital .One of the eight, Florence Poshe, who had a swollen
face said, "I was bathing, preparing to go to the rally. They came and
asked what I was still doing when others were already at the rally.
"I was naked and they started beating me with fists and tree branches.
I ran to the house and they followed me and continued beating me. This man
(Richard Daure) who brought us to the hospital is the one who rescued me.
"It's not that we did not want to go but since it's cotton picking
time we are working on Saturdays to supplement our incomes. So Sunday is the
only day to do other household chores and washing school uniforms for our
children. We had to do that just before going to the rally."
"Daure took me to the rally and tried to explain to the leaders what
had happened but was brushed aside," the woman said.
Daure, a local businessman who rescued Mrs Kambukuka from the mob,
said he tried to gain access to Border Gezi and Chen Chimutengwende at the
rally to explain and show them what happened but was blocked by their
This was not the first time that this area has been subjected to
political intimidation by the ruling Zanu PF party supporters. According to
Marunga people were ordered to surrender their MDC T-shirts, failure to
which they were beaten. He said one would be severely punished if suspected
to be an MDC supporter.
When contacted for comment Chimutengwende said he had not heard
anything about the attack so he could not comment. "Maybe its because l
left quickly," he said.
Farmer (Oates)shot dead in suspected robbery attempt
A Zimbabwe's commercial farmer, Tony Oates, of Skelton Farm,
Trelawney, was shot dead in a suspected attempted robbery at his farmhouse
last Wednesday night. 65-year-old Mr Oates was shot when two men broke into
his house around 9pm. According to the deceased's son-in-law, Brian Fuller,
the two criminals gained access by cutting the fence first and then the
burglar bars of the windows of one of the rooms. They left the tools they
used to cut the fence and the burglar bars at the scene.
Fuller said Oates must have seen them when they were already in the
house. One of the intruders shot Oates as he tried to reach for his
revolver. At the same time Oates is said to have called out to his wife
Elaine who was watching television in the lounge. Mrs Oates heard the shot
and ran towards her husband but was grabbed by one of the assailants along
the way. She bit the assailant to escape but the assailant hit her on the
head with a sharp object.
Oates managed to get his gun and fired back two shots, one, which
killed the assailant who had shot him.
The other assailant fled upon seeing that his accomplice had been
Fuller said it was not clear what sort of weapon was used to hit Mrs
Oates but she received eight stitches on the head.
Immediately after the attack, Mrs Oates quickly radioed the A reserve
who immediately responded by coming to the house within minutes.
Mr Fuller who lives about 100 metres away from Mr Oates's house said:
"I was at home, I head about four or five shots." He said the initial shot
was fired by one of the intruders and Oates then fired about three shots to
towards one of the intruders and "as the guy went down he must have fired
another shot towards Oates."
He said when he heard the shots he reacted by getting his own shotgun
and went to his in laws' house and by that time Mrs Oates had already
radioed the A reserve. He said the response by the police was impressive.
Oates was shot through the arm to the side of the chest. Fuller said
at first they thought he was going to be all right as they thought it was
just an arm injury. A nurse called to the scene tried to resuscitate Oates
but he died a few minutes later.
Fuller said the criminals could have come from either Harare or Banket
as the documents found on the body of the man who was shot had a Harare
address but also a link to Banket. The deceased assailant was carrying a
full automatic pistol CZ 7.65mm made in Czechoslovakia. The two were also
said to have been released from prison a few months ago.
"It is definitely the state of lawlessness that is being taken
advantage of. This is purely a crime but it's because of the lawlessness on
the farms and because of the invasions. Criminals are taking advantage of
prevailing conditions," he said.
Skelton farm has never been invaded although there are some farms in
the area that were occupied. Fuller also stressed that the killing was not
politically motivated as the family was not involved with any political
Fuller said there was a neighbourhood watch, which used to patrol at
night but because of the invasions by "war veterans" they couldn't continue
MDC to challenge suspect result
Zimbabwe's key opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) says it will challenge Zanu PF's electoral victory in the Supreme
Court if it becomes obvious from the results that the will of the people has
been subverted through intimidation and vote rigging.
"If Zanu PF wins the 120 seats contested, it will certainly be obvious
to us that the will of the people has not be allowed to prevail and we will
seriously challenge the result in the Supreme Court," said MDC's
parliamentary candidate for Harare Central, Mike Auret in an interview.
His party was particularly concerned that Zanu PFs unrelenting
campaign of intimidation on farms and in rural areas was likely to result in
the rural electorate shying away from the polls for fear of victimisation.
"If that happens, and I believe that is what Zanu PF wants, it will
give them (Zanu PF) the opportunity to rig the election," he said. " They
are not interested is seeing all 5 million registered voters casting their
votes. But if only 3 million vote, there is room to add another million" he
It was now a foregone conclusion that the election will not be free
and fair in circumstances where the ruling party has continued its terror
campaign on the farms and rural areas but the worst that could happen is for
the rural voters becoming too frightened to cast their votes.
Another unfair advantage that the ruling party has over its opponents
is its exclusive use of the State controlled media. "Given these factors, it
is absurd to speak of a free and fair election at this stage," he said
echoing sentiments expressed by the American based National Democratic
Institute whose preliminary report recently made similar observations.
Auret, a former director of the Catholic Commission for Peace and
Justice (CCPJ) said the only way President Mugabe and his government could
guarantee a free and fair election was by ordering the immediate withdrawal
of war veterans from farms and ensuring that police restored the rule of law
by arresting perpetrators of political violence in rural areas.
The MDC and other organizations representing civic society had met
European Union (EU) and other advance groups already in the country to
monitor the elections scheduled for 24-25 June to express the view that
Zimbabwe was already beyond holding free and fair elections unless
government made a determined effort to remove war veterans from the farms
and curbed political violence.
A particularly disturbing development, according to Auret, was that
MDC parliamentary candidates were being targeted for assassination by Zanu
PF hit squads. MDC candidates for Mt Darwin and Bikita had been murdered
while a Kwekwe candidate was forced to flee his home after his house and
property were completely destroyed.
Shamuyarira snubs Brits
Zimbabwe's Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Nathan Shamuyarira this
week appears to have snubbed an invitation to officiate at a ceremony to
introduce the British government's latest overseas trade initiative.
The ceremony to launch Trade Partners UK, a unified brand of services
that the UK offers its overseas customers, and attended mostly by business
executives in the private sector, was held at the official residence of the
British High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Peter Longworth in Harare's Greendale
Officials at the High Commission confirmed that Shamuyarira had been
invited in his capacity as the minister responsible for trade, industry and
commerce, but the minister had not responded to the invitation.
However, a woman identifying herself as the secretary to the minister
denied that any invitation had been received from the British High
But at the ceremony on Wednesday night, Dr Shamuyarira was evidently
expected as Mr Longworth began his speech with a salutation to the minister
which, albeit, carried a rider in brackets, "if he turns up", suggesting
that his non-appearance was also anticipated within the context of the
deteriorating relations between London and Harare.
Friday, 16 June, 2000, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK -BBC
Opposition boost in
A week before the general election in
Zimbabwe, an opinion poll has suggested a
clear lead for the main opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change.
The poll, conducted by a group at the
University of Zimbabwe, forecast that the MDC
would win at least 70 seats, with President
Mugabe's Zanu-PF getting 40; another nine
seats were described as too close to call.
A total of 120 seats are up for grabs in the
parliamentary elections on 24-25 June.
President Mugabe has the right to directly
appoint a further 30 MPs in the 150 seat
A spokesman for
Zanu-PF has dismissed
the poll as unscientific.
Opinion polls are
relatively new to
Zimbabwe - although the same group
accurately predicted President Mugabe's
defeat in a constitutional referendum in
If the opposition did win a majority of seats,
Mr Mugabe may feel he has no choice but to
A senior figure in the ruling party, Didiymus
Mutassa, has criticised calls for democratic
change in the country.
In a BBC interview, Mr Mutassa said Zimbabwe
fought for its democracy "through the barrel of
the gun" and that the ruling party was still
nurturing the democratic process.
Mr Mutassa said it was hypocritical for people
who denied the people of Zimbabwe
democracy for years, to now champion the
cause for change.
He said the people of Zimbabwe were not yet
used to removing the "King" when he was still
alive and it was a difficult proposition to
expect President Mugabe to be suddenly
He said threats from western countries were
The United States has reiterated its
condemnation of recent developments in
Speaking to journalists
after meeting finance
ministers from Southern
African countries, the
US Treasury Secretary,
said a message had
been conveyed to the
expressing its concern.
He said the
re-establishment of the
rule of law was very
important to Zimbabwe and the region.
Nine human rights
Zimbabwe accused the
state and the ruling
party on Friday of
mounting a systematic
and brutal campaign to
destroy the opposition,
ahead of parliamentary
Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum Director Tony
Reelers said: "This has involved murder,
torture, beatings, setting people on fire, rapes,
kidnappings, arson and various forms of
He also said that more than 13,000 rural
people had sought refuge in towns and cities
to escape the political violence - which has
seen the deaths of at least 29 people.
"Free and fair elections are not possible," he
From the Independent [UK] 16th June 2000
threat 'will destroy our economy'
By Alex Duval Smith in Harare and
16 June 2000
President Robert Mugabe's threat
to seize the assets of British companies
operating in Zimbabwe is in danger
of dealing a fatal blow to the country's
economy, politicians and business
people in London and Harare warned
Condemning comments by
the 76-year-old president in yesterday's Independent,
Peter Hain, the Foreign
Office minister described Mr Mugabe's threat to
mines as "more pre-election posturing", which
would only discourage the
foreign investors Zimbabwe desperately needed.
"This cannot help
Zimbabwean jobs, wealth and opportunities. Zimbabwe is
from a crippling shortage of foreign exchange and a weak
These threats, if carried out, would risk bankrupting the
country," Mr Hain
said in a letter to The Independent.
British officials however are
keeping their criticism muted. "We don't want
to make a bad situation worse,"
said one diplomat, by giving the Zimbabwe
president the chance "of running
the campaign with us as the opposition". As
foreign observers, who arrived in
Zimbabwe ahead of next weekend's
parliamentary election, made their first
attempts to visit rural areas
yesterday, the main opposition party joined a
chorus of condemnation of
President Mugabe's threat.
Eddie Cross, the
economics spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change
"Mugabe's increasingly irrational comments, especially about
the economy, are
extraordinary for a president with 20 years' experience.
They are a real blow
to our chances of attracting foreign investment."
In the rare one-to-one
interview, President Mugabe said on Wednesday that
once the issue of
transferring white-owned farms to black peasants was
settled, he would turn
to the mining sector. A particular target appeared to
be 400 British
companies, only a few of them in the mining sector.
Mr Cross said that
even though South African investment was growing, Britain
"critical importance to Zimbabwe's economy". He said: "The
played a dynamic role in the economy of this country," and
named a Rio Tinto
subsidiary, Dunlop, and Chloride chemicals as major
Mugabe's comments drew disbelief from the mining industry, which
per cent of export earnings, making it second only to
agriculture as a
foreign currency earner. John Holloway, a mining consultant
in Harare said:
"If he treats the mining industry in the same way as he has
the land, it
would be the end."
Since the ruling Zanu-PF lost a referendum in February
change, it has orchestrated 1,400 farm invasions by groups
represent liberation war veterans. The government has targeted
commercial farms to be seized and redistributed to black people after
parliamentary election on 24 and 25 June. Farming sector analysts say
invasions have, at least temporarily, rendered land worthless. A
report by the country's biggest bank, Standard Chartered, said
the economy had reached an all-time low as a result of the land
The bank predicted that Zimbabwe's gross domestic product
would fall by more
than 5 per cent this year - revised from a prediction of 2
per cent in
April. It said net capital flows into the country tumbled from
1997 to Â£10.6m last year. It put inflation at 70 per cent and
fall in bank lending rates, which also stands at 70 per
A major contributory factor to the declining confidence in
economy has been the country's involvement in the war in the
Republic of Congo, in support of President Laurent-DÃ©sirÃ© Kabila
but also in
pursuit of mineral wealth and other natural resources in the huge
African country. In Mr Mugabe's interview, he revealed that President
had offered Zimbabwe and Namibia a diamond mine each as payment for
military help. Earlier this week, after a controversy over the source
diamonds, a Zimbabwean-linked diamond firm, Oryx, was obliged to pull
London stock market listing.
Two of the directors of Oryx are
members of President Mugabe's cabinet.
From The Times [UK] 16th June 2000
sets sights on 'all British firms'
FROM MICHAEL DYNES IN
Members of the Movement for Democratic Change at a rally in
Photograph: HOWARD BURDITT / REUTERSÂ Â
THE British business community in Zimbabwe was in a state of shock
after President Mugabe said that all 400 British companies in the
could be seized.
President Mugabe's sudden decision to extend
his campaign to redress
Zimbabwe's "colonial legacy" from white- owned
commercial farms to
British-owned mining and manufacturing interests provoked
fears that the
move could have disastrous consequences for the economic
wellbeing of the
Peter Hain, the Foreign Office Minister
responsible for Africa, described
the threat against British interests as
"posturing" before next week's
elections. However, he said that if it were
carried out it would "risk
bankrupting the country".
said that the move could push the country's ailing economy,
bankrupt because of government mismanagement and the
collapse in export
earnings from tobacco sales, into economic freefall.
"It escalates the
whole conflict on to a completely different level," one
"President Mugabe is refighting the war of national
liberation all over
again. He wants the land, the mines and the businesses.
He hasn't used
language like that since Zimbabwe gained independence in
1980. Only the
churches will be left."
Complaining that there were "too many Britons" in
Zimbabwe, President Mugabe
said that the time had come for "Africans to be in
there as owners not just
as workers". Zimbabwe's gold, copper, asbestos and
iron mines faced seizure
or aggressive "indigenisation" as soon as the
white-owned farms had been
redistributed, he said.
Some of the world's
great mining houses, including Anglo-American, Rio Tinto
Zinc and Lonmin, are
among the foreign multinational corporations with
extensive mining interests
in Zimbabwe. However, they represent only a
handful of the 400 British-owned
or affiliated companies facing the threat
of nationalisation, involving
household names such as Unilever, BP, British
American Tobacco, Barclays
Bank, Schweppes, Dunlop, Costains and Taylor
Woodrow, with a market value
estimated in excess of several hundred million
Mugabe said that the people of Zimbabwe were forced to eat "sadza
(maize porridge and meat)" while British and other foreign-owned
repatriated their profits to their parent countries. "Zimbabwe's
has ended up producing for Britain," he said.
He added: "There was some
fellow from Britain, Lord Something, he came here
and talked about funding
for Zimbabwe. I said to him: 'You put our dividends
and profits that we remit
to Britain against the aid we get and tell me who
is giving aid to who.' We
remit much more and they pretend to give poverty
alleviation or little
"After land, we must look at the mining sector. The land
question will be
settled. But who owns our mines? We are gold, copper,
asbestos and iron
producers. But most of the benefits are enjoyed by a few
colonialists. We have trained engineers of all kinds, civil
electrical engineers, mining engineers, mechanical engineers.
Zimbabwe's mining industry, which accounts for 8 per
cent of gross domestic
product and 40 per cent of annual export earnings, is
also responsible for
nearly 50,000 jobs in a country whein which unemployment
has risen to 60 per
cent. Many of these jobs, along with the tens of
thousands of jobs in the
manufacturing sector, would be put at risk if the
Government went ahead with
Eddie Cross, the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
economics spokesman, said: "It
consolidates the hostile rhetoric towards the
community and further undermines Zimbabwe's
prospects of economic recovery
and any further direct foreign investment. It
is an act of gross
I spent years of terror as wife of
By Chris Leski in Warsaw
THE man who has led Zimbabwe's campaign of
violence against white farmers, Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi, who has always denied
claims of racism, brutally terrorised his white ex-wife.
wife detailed his vain and sometimes brutal behaviour in a book entitled White
Slave, written after she fled Zimbabwe to her native Poland.
The leader of
the Zimbabwean "war veterans", who have organised the farm invasions and killed
white farmers and black farm workers, argues that, since he had a white wife, he
"cannot be a racist". But Magda Tunzvi, the pseudonym used by Mrs Hunzvi in the
book, was so terrorised by him that she fled Zimbabwe in 1992 after enduring
years of beatings and torture at the hands of a husband whom she characterises
as an unfaithful, vain sadist.
Magda met Hunzvi in the Seventies in Warsaw,
where he was representing Zipra, the guerrilla army led by Joshua Nkomo that was
fighting to topple the white Rhodesian regime. In her book, published in Poland
in 1994, Magda described him as "a freedom fighter" but added that he "had never
held a gun". The couple married in the late Seventies while Hunzvi was studying
medicine at Warsaw University. Magda wrote: "He would often boast that he had a
Soon he became jealous and violent. When Magda danced with
another man at a party on the anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence her husband
marshalled thugs armed with knuckledusters to attack her partner. Her ordeal
worsened when Hunzvi took her to Zimbabwe in 1991. She wrote: "I could not go
out alone. He had a special whip and would often threaten me ".
having affairs and a woman telephoned Magda claiming to be his real wife. By
this time, the couple had two sons and she tried to win him back by preparing a
special meal. "Apparently this made him angry, for his face changed and his
nostrils trembled like those of a horse. 'I am the master here,' he said. 'You
can feed the pigs with this food.' Suddenly he hit me in the face, so hard that
I lost balance and grasped a chair. Then he said, 'This was my thank you for the
supper'. He left, slamming the door."
Hunzvi stopped giving his wife money
and she was reduced to begging from his father to buy milk for the children.
This provoked a frenzy of violence from Hunzvi. "He stormed through the house,
looking for something. Eventually he asked, 'Where is the whip?' Then he took
his belt and shouted, 'On your knees'. I tried to escape but he caught me and
shouted, 'Undress, kneel'.
"I managed to grasp his hand and bite it. He
shouted and I felt a horrible pain and saw stars in my eyes. He hit my buttock
with the belt buckle. I fell on the floor. He hit again. The telephone rang. He
hit me again. The telephone kept ringing. He kicked me and then I managed to
escape while he answered the phone."
Hunzvi's violent tantrums became more
frequent and he took to beating Magda at night, although the neighbours heard
her screams. He even attacked her in front of one of his cousins. "He told him
not to interfere and to look after the boys, who were both crying . . . I was
slapped on the lip, then hit in the face.
"I fell to the floor and my
husband began kicking me with his shiny shoes. When he saw my nose bleeding, he
brought a towel and tightened it around my neck. He wanted to strangle me. This
torture lasted for several hours."
Soon afterwards she took the children and
fled with the help of a Polish diplomat.
Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2000.